The magnificent play of light : seeing the difference

  • Dawn Porritt

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Light as a concept is filled with a multitude of interpretations, ideas and possibilities and no matter how technologically progressive we think we are, nature consistently controls our human way of life. We are surrounded by nature and often gain inspiration by the simple things around us. My interest in the phenomena of light and refraction was sparked years ago by Claude Monet's painting Bathers at La Grenouillere,1869. It showed simplicity of form and shape, yet emitted a luminosity and radiance of light reflecting off water. This thesis examines the subject of light as an optical phenomenon. My specific aim was to create distorted, ambiguous and conflicting images in my photographs by using the "optical phenomena" of light such as, refraction, diffraction and reflection as a basis for abstracting reality. I wanted to capture the changes that occur when light changes direction due to refractive qualities within a material such as glass, water or plastic, or due to the reflective qualities of a surface. The camera was exploited for its capacity to capture realism, but also to capture and abstract natural phenomenon. The images were enlarged to magnify details and the reality of the physical world was heightened as objects became ambiguous. Design compositional techniques were used to decontextualise objects. I approached this study with the idea that observation and awareness has importance to image making within my design and teaching practice. This thesis presents my project explorations showing the play of light on and through surfaces under different conditions. I have documented this by producing a series of photographic images and a glossary as an aid in the practice of design education.
    Date of Award2007
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorCraig Bremner (Supervisor)

    Cite this